I want people to like me! I want you to click that little thumbs up to say that you have noticed my article, like what I’ve written, admire my sentiment, maybe even agree with me. We all want to be liked, admired, noticed and valued. Teenagers, probably even more that the rest of us, struggle with this longing for love and recognition. Some post pictures of themselves (the infamous ‘selfies’) online hoping for positive responses but leaving themselves open to horrible comments and responses that can make them feel unlovable and worthless.
‘We’re worth it’
‘Self esteem’ and ‘confidence’ have become buzz words in our culture. If advertisers can persuade us that their products will give us confidence or boost our self esteem then they are on to a winner. So we buy our expensive hair gel, safe in the knowledge that ‘we’re worth it’ and we gaze longingly at a friend’s iphone4G knowing that if only we had one of those then we’d really be someone worth knowing.
Those who are not just after our money try to reassure us by telling us that we are ‘amazing’ or that deep down we are ’good people. If you are a girl you may well get told that that you are ‘beautiful and those haters are just ignorant’, which is really nice, but sadly, not always true. You see, the thing is, if my self-worth is build on the fact that I am really nice looking and a very good person, what happens on the day when I’m ...not? It only takes a bad haircut or an unfortunate scar to undermine that illusion. And if we’re really honest we know that underneath the ‘nice’ exterior we can all find our own store of selfishness, meanness, pride, greed, lust....oh dear!
‘You’re sinful. I love you’
But the bible has a solution to our self esteem issues. God doesn’t lie to us and tell us that we’re all lovely and not to worry about it. He tells us the truth – ‘You’re sinful’. But he also tells us the most amazing thing – ‘I love you anyway’. This is such fantastic news! God doesn’t love us because we are beautiful or good. He just loves us! There’s a children’s song which sounds a bit twee but is actually full of great theology. It starts, “I’m special because God has loved me...” That’s the point. God doesn’t love us because we’re special. Phew! Because I may not be feeling or acting that special today! No, I’m special because God has loved me.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
See a video about one guy’s take on the struggle for perfection and God’s grace here: